In today’s dynamic world we rely on different sources of information using varieties of information technologies.
We depend on the various mass media for information about events in and outside of the United States. This information influences, and often shapes the view of our country and the world, and helps us determine the position on issues that affect us. The media indeed shapes our reality. Media is and will always be the conductor between a government and the people they govern. We the people are the ones that believe and trust in most cases the information that we receive.
Especially when this information comes from a seemingly trusted source, we tend not to doubt anything that we hear. A very good example of how media can interpreter anything and how ethical issues, interpersonal and organizational perspectives play an important role in our life is the movie Wag the Dog. The movie itself makes you laugh, and it also makes you think, by realizing the impact of our commercial media and the people who present it. In the past years the media influence over our society has grown exponentially, many tools which offer different ways to receive information are added to our day-to-day life activity.Television and Internet are our most useful media distribution channels.
Most of our decisions, values and beliefs are based on what we learn from those channels. This is one of the reasons why the movie Wag the Dog focuses our attention on the media just to remind us that not everything that we hear and read is true. We should rely more on our personal experiences and use the media as a secondary source of information. The movie itself not only represents the power of the media but also the way the information is created and transformed between different groups within and outside the organization.
Along with the media influence, ethical issues as well as interpersonal and organizational perspectives played a big role in the movie concept. The movie starts and continues until the end with a statement “Do not change horses in mid stream”. Only one simple sentence can have such a strong influence on people. Why change the views of the existing president when part-way through a re-election campaign? A good statement can be much more powerful and effective than a long speech, in order to capture one’s attention and sway people’s minds. Conrad (Robert DeNiro) was very loose with his ethics in chieving his goal of diverting the people’s attention away from the misdoings of the President. However among his staff he was very ethical.
Conrad used the arrow approach to attack the task of creating a media diversion for the president.There was no time wasted. The facts were gathered and Conrad’s thoughts were put into words. The president gave Conrad his credibility and authority.
Conrad’s commitment to the key goal, and his relationship with the rest of the followers was the single most important reason he and his team were successful. Mr. Fix it” has the ability to influence the behavior of others. Within his group organization he is known as the one who has the legitimate power to ask others to do things that are considered within the scope of his authority. He made decisions based on what would do the most good for the President. He created a “fake war” to take the American people’s attention of the President’s “sex scandal”.
As soon as he found out that Senator Neil and The C. I. A ruined the “fake war” plan, he immediately met with them to straighten things out.But when that did not work he quickly came up with the “American War Hero” idea. He really did not follow any ethical codes of behavior as providing accurate and truthful information.
He was trying to make the president look good; he outright lied to the American people. He did whatever he could do to get the American citizen’s attention off the sex scandal. He confirmed the stereotype that people in power do whatever they need to do to make their clients look good. Whether it is lying, cheating, stealing, or even creating an imaginary conflict with another country.There were many stereotypical non-verbal cues given by Winifred Aimes (Anne Heche), the female member of the team who was the president’s assistant.
In contrast of Conard she was trying to stay ethical throughout the whole movie by trying to follow the legal aspect of the problem. Her first reaction to Conard’s idea for a war was negative, but she was easily convinced by him that this would be the best way of distracting the media’s attention. She also wanted to make sure that they do not hire any illegal immigrants because that is against the law.In such a difficult situation she chooses to stay loyal to her organization and to protect the good name of the President. She gave the appearance of stress and verbal despair whenever things didn’t go as planned.
When she found out that the “war hero” Sergeant William Shumann was actually a convicted insane rapist that must be heavily medicated at all times, she was the one that showed fear and doubt that the plan would work. On the other hand Conrad remained calm and focused on a way to make the situation work. His non-verbal messages were of confidence and control.The interpersonal needs of the actress used to portray an Albanian woman (Kirsten Dunst) carrying a kitten, were those of furthering her career.
She wanted to be recognized for working with famed producer Stanley Motss (Dustin Hoffman). Motss had the kinesics of a very proud confident person. He had obviously had a successful career by the assets he possessed. However, he was warned when he took on this project that he couldn’t tell anyone ever. Motss often complained that there was no academy award for producers, as producers are totally under recognized for their contributions to the film world.
Conrad holds fast and reminds Motss that this cannot be revealed to anyone. Motss agrees to this but his desire for recognition was too strong, the mission had been a success and Motss wanted to tell his friends about what great job he had done in fooling the whole country into thinking there was a war that started out of nowhere and ended just as sudden as it started. Due to his hunger for recognition and a story to tell Motss was considered too much of a risk and was executed.We all have these interpersonal needs, whether it be a pat on the back or a bonus check at the end of the year, we all have the need to be recognized for our achievements.
With the progression and influence on media, and with organizations’ desire for higher achievements our interpersonal behaviors are put on a strike. The movie Wag the Dog combines all the interpersonal and organizational characteristics of people who set aside ethics in order to reach higher levels of success using varieties of media distribution channels.